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Panpa Bulletin : September 2010
www.panpa.org.au RXU SURPLVH lv iru vkruw0uxq/ rq 0ghpdqg qhzvsdshuv LV IRU DGYDQFHG GLJLWDO SULQWLQJ Vhh VFUHHQ dw wkh SDQSD Ixwxuh Iruxp/ V¦gqh¦ Dxjxvw 58059 dqg errn lq iru rxu gljlwdo qhzvsdshu zrunvkrs Gdlqlssrq Vfuhhq +Dxvwudold, Sw¦ Owg 442 5 Hghq Sdun Gulyh/ Pdftxdulh Sdun/ QVZ 5446 Who= 4633 63844; +Shwhu Vfrww, zz z1vfuhhq1fr1ms2jdbgws2hq2 ̨ Hpdlo= shwhuvCvfuhhqdxvw1frp1dx VFUHHQ slrqhhuhg gljlwdo qhzvsdshu sulqwlqj lq ixoo frorxu zlwk wkh Wuxhsuhvv Mhw 8531 Qrz wkh Wuxhsuhvv udqjh frphv lq pdq¦ frqiljxudwlrqv dqg vshhgv dqg fdq lqfoxgh wkh uhpdundeoh dxwrpdwhg SGI zruniorz zklfk fdq dovr gulyh ¦rxu FWS1 SGIGDWDLQ111 SXEOLFDWLRQV RQ GHPDQG 8 | SEPTEMBER 2010 | The PANPA Bulletin Fiji: read between the lines WATCHING censorship in Fiji is a bit like astronomy and physics; you can look into the universe and know that dark matter exists. It is just that it is impossible to see. Theory says it has to be there, and that is like Fiji. Censorship is an almost all pervad- ing thing; anything even slightly criti- cal is blue-pencilled out of existence. If you look carefully at the Fijian media, you can see what is not there, even as in the parallel universe of reality, it exists. This was the case in a recent ty- phoid epidemic on the Coral Coast, Fiji's main tourist beat. Officially, it is under control and everything is fine, problem solved. Look again, the Fijian media keeps reporting it is all-well, every week. Censorship has pushed the Fijian media into a black hole, while out here, in the real world, there are other clues that typhoid is not under control. The thing is, ordinary people are hearing the same things I am hearing around the crashing health system; it is why the Fijian media keep report- ing all is well. They are not going to report that things are deteriorating. Look at the Fijian media; there is almost no crime other than that which is spun out by the military regime into evidence against previous regimes. When an old lady of some earlier fame is gang raped in her Suva old folks home, it does not get into the censored press. It cannot be blamed on former PM Laisenia Qarase; it is here and now. Another piece of dark matter floating around is the new Land Use Decree that is, according to the mili- tary, going to lead to a rational and reasonable use of leased land. Readers and audiences are told, repeatedly, about how badly land was used in the past. But when it comes to specific cases of named blocks of land nothing is mentioned. Why is that? Censored Fiji is not being told what is happening. In fact, the decree is rationalising -- and that is not the word -- the begin- nings of a Mugabe-style land grab. I know of large well-managed properties around Viti Levu where people aligned with the Bainimarama regime are now getting doubtful or- ders from the corrupt courts to have land seized. In one case, a prominent military-appointed court official has managed to get orders seizing white-leased farmland without any compensation to the leaseholder. Again, it is not what you read, but what you don't read. The dark matter is the name, or names, of the people in the regime who will profit from these seizures. Mr Bainimarama says corruption has gone; in fact, it is the dark matter we cannot now see in the new legal order. Censorship and land tenure has international implications for the dark matter -- that is the issue of what is really going on -- usually involves the area an investor might want to put money into. The issue is playing out in Australia and New Zealand around various time share and resort development failures. Resorts like those at Momi Bay and Lagoon Resort at Pacific Harbour fault and then fail, and lately some- thing is unfolding around Hilton timeshares near Nadi, but it is largely impossible to find out through public sources what is going on. And the problem is made worse by the way in which an occasional story does appear about investment failures; the stories are so couched it is possible, in an ironic way, to see the dark matter. You know there is a lot missing; but you do not know what. Censorship is like that. Then, there was the Media Decree. That came after 150 minutes of "con- sultation" with the media industry. The difference between April draft and the June version is modest in the extreme. They attack the media and Rupert Murdoch in particular. Have no doubt, the Bainimarama government is being nasty and vin- dictive in the most self-destructive way. Investors have had the message driven home with ruthless efficiency; if we don't like you, we will change the rules. It is robbery, straight and simple. It is also anti-democratic, oppres- sive and designed to squeeze out whatever independent thought is left. Some odd characters have come out. The new military appointed per- manent secretary for information, Sharon Smith-Jones, proclaimed the Media Decree was "a break from Fiji's colonial past and the bridge to an independent future". Fiji has been independent for 40 years and Ms Smith-Jones is Austral- ian. She is the same face of neo-colo- nial rule that means much of Fiji is already owned by Australians. "Fiji," she says, "is like any other sovereign state and has the right to enact any laws, just like any country in the world." True, a sovereign state's elected government has that right. Not thugs who took power with the gun. No compromise . . . Self-installed Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has destroyed a free press Michael Field* Fairfax Media NZ *Auckland based Michael Field is Pacific Affairs Correspondent for Fairfax Media NZ. He is currently bannedfrom entering Fiji. In August Penguin published his latest book on the region, Swimming with Sharks. Cracking NZ content Rebecca Leaver THE New Zealand Herald iPad offering is one of the most exciting from our region so far. Opening with a slide of moving im- ages, video and audio content, the app has a fast and up-to-the-minute feel. The New Zealand Herald has opted for the online presentation of content over the traditional newspaper layout, which The Australian chose to do with its iPad app.The NZH digital editor Jeremy Rees and publisher Spencer Bailey were the principals in creating the iPad app with outsourcer Shift and Carnival Labs. Their first-generation product makes one wonder how they will continue to de- velop the offering. Great use of images and a large font size makes the app easy to read and navi- gate through. The main navigation page is well laid out with a strong image and story grab- bing your attention on the screen, and smaller images and stories running be- neath horizontally. I would have expected horizontal- swipe options here -- a great design fea- ture available on the iPad -- but it is only available when you access individual stories. It would also be good to see a role for social media, too. It's great to see lots of video content and photo slides, making good use of the audio capabilities and large screen. Most of the video content I have watched has been from AP or AAP, so I look forward to seeing video content supplied by the NZH team in coming months. Overall, this is a fantastic app, offering great Kiwi content to the world.